Whipple to serve as first female Chief Judge in history of First Circuit Court of Appeal

Staff Writer
Donaldsonville Chief

The Honorable Vanessa Guidry-Whipple, a lifelong resident of Terrebonne Parish who was recently re-elected to a third term, unopposed, will be sworn in as the Chief Judge of the First Circuit Court of Appeal at an investiture ceremony on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, at 3 p.m. at the courthouse, 1600 North Third Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The public is invited to attend. 

In 1990, Judge Whipple was the first woman elected to the First Circuit Court of Appeal, one of the five Louisiana intermediate appellate courts, which is domiciled in East Baton Rouge Parish and serves sixteen parishes including Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, Assumption, Ascension, Iberville, Point Coupee, West Baton Rouge, East Baton Rouge, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, St. Helena, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Tammany.  During her judicial career, Chief Judge Whipple has authored many important opinions, including the case prohibiting shell dredging in badly polluted Lake Pontchartrain, largely credited with cleaning up that body and reviving recreational activities in the lake.  Also during her first term on the First Circuit, she served as pro tempore justice on the Louisiana Supreme Court, and her proposed opinion became the adopted opinion of the Court in the case of State v. Sandifer, which upheld the constitutionality of the state statute allowing the enhanced prosecution of criminals and drug users for offenses involving drugs and firearms.   In 1991, she was named “Outstanding Young Woman of Louisiana” by the Louisiana Jaycees. 

In 1994, Chief Judge Whipple chaired the statewide Committee to Revise the Uniform Rules of the Louisiana Courts of Appeal, which revisions were adopted by all five Louisiana Courts of Appeal in October of 1994.  She served on the Marcus Advisory Committee of the Louisiana Supreme Court for the revision of the Code of Judicial Conduct and continues to serve on the present Supreme Court Advisory Committee, considering proposals to the A.B.A. Model Code of Judicial Conduct. 

Chief Judge Whipple is one of very few judges to have served as the appellate judge member of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana for two terms (having served a total of eight years) by appointment of the Louisiana Supreme Court, including serving as Chair of the Commission.  She is a frequent C.L.E. presenter and has presented papers on judicial ethics and topics of interest for local and state educational, civic and bar associations, including the Summer School in Destin and the Louisiana Judicial College. 

Judge Whipple will serve as the first female Chief Judge in the history of the First Circuit Court of Appeal.  She is married to Keith Whipple, an attorney now in his 50th year of practice.